NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — Bacteria are dirtying Southwest Florida waterways, a new study shows.
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University presented results of the study to Lee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to show the sources of bacteria polluting the Caloosahatchee River.
They sampled groundwater and surface water in North Fort Myers, in an area with 2,164 septic tanks.
Their findings showed several factors contributing to water pollution, including the following:
- Failed septic tanks
- Urban runoff such as fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, lawn clippings
- Animal waste
Jeremy Miller who lives in North Fort Myers with a septic tank home says inspections should be regular.
“I don’t know if it’s done regularly enough for the county because you have a lot of old properties in the county," he said.
John Cassani with Calusa Waterkeeper says some of the septic tanks could be up to 60 years old.
“A proportion of those septic tanks are probably not working like they were intended to,” Cassani said. “Probably most of them need to be inspected, and if they’re not functioning right, I think some things can be done to make them work better and more efficiently."
Florida law does not require inspections, but legislators are working to change that. HB 85 would require periodic inspections of sewage treatment and disposal systems. The bill is currently in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, but legislative session ends May 3.
For the full study, click here.